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Vanguard of the ImamReligion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards$
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Afshon Ostovar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199387892

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199387892.001.0001

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Exporting the Revolution

Exporting the Revolution

(p.102) 6 Exporting the Revolution
Vanguard of the Imam

Afshon Ostovar

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Iran’s desire to export its revolution and the IRGC’s role in that effort. After war with Saddam began, exporting the revolution became a divisive issue that split the Khomeinist movement. Radicals saw it as a fundamental responsibility of Iran’s government. Opponents argued that foreign adventurism was contrary to Iran’s national interests and that the war should take priority. Through its Office of Liberation movements, the IRGC was the main mechanism for foreign intervention. It had success in Lebanon, where it helped establish Hezbollah, through which the IRGC became involved in anti-American terrorism. The IRGC’s radicals gradually grew antagonistic to their top command and to the clerical leadership in Tehran. After exposing Tehran’s secret dealings with the United States (i.e., the Iran-Contra Affair), radicals were purged from the IRGC. With the downfall of Ayatollah Montazeri, the patron of the radicals, conservatives became the center of power in Tehran.

Keywords:   Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, IRGC, Iran-Iraq war, Shi`ism, Shiite Islam, Hossein-Ali Montazeri, terrorism, modern Middle East history, modern Iranian history, Hezbollah

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